Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I mentioned last week that it's crab season on our coast. We're not near the coast at all (about 7-9 hours, depending on the route you take, highway or back road). So we don't usually eat seafood because by the time it makes it here to the other side of the state, it's not really as fresh as I'd like it to be. And you know I'm all about fresh food! (Oregon is 98,000 square miles and ranked 9th largest.... way behind TEXAS, of course!)
So, let's begin! When crabbing, make sure to follow the local rules and regulations. That usually includes size and sex (nothing under a certain size, and no females). This is a male and you can tell by the shape of the "apron". Males usually have a shape somewhat like the Washington Monument. And females are shaped like the US Capital dome. (Baby females have a sort of triangle, and are probably too small to keep.)
Flipping the crab over, grip both sides of the carapace and remove the top.
Inside you can see the gills, the innards, etc. Some people save the top and serve the crab dish inside. If you want to do this you'll need to scrub it really well with soap, and then leave it in the sun to dry, preferably for several days. We just toss ours. :)
Inside the middle is a yellow gunk called "crab butter'. This is like the crab's liver and filters the toxin from the system. Some people carefully collect this and use it in soup or the crab dish because it's a very strong flavoring, like anchovy paste (but not as salty). I've had dishes made with crab butter and although it's good, I don't feel comfortable eating something that filters toxins so... I discard this. Of course, I don't eat liver, either, which plenty of people feel is perfectly okay. It's really up to you whether you feel it's safe to eat/cook with.
Another shot of the gills, crab butter, mandibles. All this should be removed.
I hope you've enjoyed my crab cleaning tutorial! Next week, we'll skin a squirrel! Just kidding... although my 1950's Joy of Cooking does have a page on that. I think I've shared it before.
And now, for unsavory things that become savory... A lot of revisions went into this book but sometimes you just have to make the hard cuts to craft a better story! Some days I felt revising this book was like cleaning crab butter. Ugh! But I'm absolutely thrilled with the way this story turned out and I'm giddy with anticipation for release day!
series is up for preorder and at a special .99 until release day! If you've already picked up Book One, which is FREE, then there is Book Two, Book Three, and Book Four!
Ok, until next time, everyone! Have a great weekend and I hope spring is finally starting to pop where you are!